Parental attitudes and behaviors are significant factors in the gambling behavior of their children yet few attempts have been made to explore them in depth. The current study compared mothers and fathers on these factors with particular attention paid towards the gambling of their own teenage children. Surveys were completed by 3,089 parents across Canada with at least one child between the ages of 13 and 18 years.Participants responded to items in three general areas:
(1) parental attitudes towards gambling among adolescents,
(2) parental involvement in gambling with their children, and
(3) parental awareness of and involvement in youth gambling education and prevention measures.
Several gender differences were revealed. Fewer fathers compared to mothers viewed gambling as a serious issue among teens, particularly fathers of teenage boys. Mothers were more likely to report gambling on raffle and lottery scratch tickets with their children; fathers were more likely to report engaging in gambling activities with their children, particularly sons, involving sports or competitive themes (i.e., poker, games of skill, sports lotteries, and sports pools). Mothers were also more likely to report having conversations with their children about gambling and to be more aware of educational materials to which their children are being exposed. Given the differences between mothers and fathers in how they view and react to youth gambling as a serious issue, prevention programs should aim to address the gender-specific attitudes and behaviors of parents.